Afghanistan February 4, 2009

Afghanistan cold shouldered by ministers

Afghanistan's winning the World Cricket League Division Three title in Argentina may have sparked euphoria throughout the country but the team are reported to be less than impressed by the reception on their arrival in Kabul

Afghanistan's winning the World Cricket League Division Three title in Argentina may have sparked euphoria throughout the country but the team are reported to be less than impressed by the reception on their arrival in Kabul. “We were very disappointed that there was no cabinet minister, vice president or president to welcome us home following our extraordinary achievement,” batsman Raees Ahmadzai told BBC. "It shows that they don't like cricket or our team. But we couldn't believe it when we saw people dancing and cheering in the cold weather.''

Another team member absolved President Hamid Karzai - "a big supporter" - of any blame but said ministers should have been present. "This is a big achievement for Afghanistan. But our victory and team belongs to the Afghan people not to ministers.''

A cabinet minister contacted by the BBC said what happened was "regrettable" and that official engagements had prevented them from attending.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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